The Miners jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, held Washington State scoreless for nearly five minutes, and never trailed in the program's first non-conference road win outside of the state of New Mexico since March 25th, 2009.
Vince Hunter, who led the Miners in scoring for the night, put them on the board first with a free throw in the early going. A John Bohannon jumper and a McKenzie Moore three quickly gave UTEP that early six point lead.
Washington State would finally get on the board at the 15:01 mark off a D.J. Shelton jumper. Buckets by Que Johnson and Junior Longrus moments later would knot the game up at six, but that's as close as the Cougars would be the rest of the night.
UTEP would respond with a quick 12-4 run to push their lead to eight with 5:31 left in the first half, and would eventually lead by as many a 11 at 28-17, a margin that they would take with them into the locker rooms.
The second twenty minutes started much the way the first did, with the Miners using a quick spurt to pad their lead just a bit. UTEP outscored WSU 6-1 in the first two minutes of the second half, pushing their lead up to 16 with 18 to play.
That 16 point margin would be the largest the Miners would own on the night, and they would hold it on four separate occasions, but the Cougars just simply would not go away.
In fact, Washington State would close the lead to within eight two times in the final four minutes, but couldn't get any closer than that, and the Miners would eventually shut the door on their 64-51 victory.
Vince Hunter led the way for the Miners, finishing with 15 points and 8 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Julian Washburn finished with 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists with no turnovers, and McKenzie Moore had 13 points and 5 assists.
Que Johnson, who led all scorers on the night, was Washington State's leading scorer, but unfortunately he was the only one who finished in double digits. He had 21 points and 4 rebounds. D.J. Shelton chipped in with 9 points and 11 rebounds.
The Miners were able to hold WSU to just 33.9% from the field, while shooting 51.2% themselves. They also controlled the boards for the majority of the game, despite losing that battle 35-34, and they also committed just 9 turnovers.
The win, no doubt, is a huge one for the Miners. It was a much needed boost for a team that is still in the process of finding themselves. This, hopefully coupled with a couple more non-conference wins, should be all that this team need as they head into conference play.
Up next, they'll take on Montana State, Monday at 7:05 p.m. MT in the Don Haskins Center.
Check out MinerRush's The Rush 2.0 Postgame Edition as we talk about the Miners big win in Pullman.
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